KROKUS – Established in 1975, Krokus is a Hard Rock band synonymous with good times and Old School. Despite lineup changes within the Krokus camp over the decades, Marc Storace is the front man who has given this band it’s vocal identity. Along with being the lead vocalist for the most prominent Rock ‘N’ Roll Band ever imported from Switzerland, Marc Storace is a musician, lyricist and song writer as well. Krokus is without doubt, one of the most flamboyant, successful and commercially accessible heavy bands, to lay claim of making the 1980’s a Hard Rockin’ decade to remember.
With the classic Krokus lineup of Marc Storace, Chris Von Rohr, Fernando Von Arb, Mark Kohler and Freddy Steady reunited once again and the March 2, 2010 release of their new, critically acclaimed Hard Rock gem – Hoodoo, (released on Sony), Marc Storace and his band mates are back on top of the Hard Rock world once again. Marc took the time out of his hectic schedule recently, to talk to Hard Rock Hideout. Marc was graciously amicable and very proud of where Krokus has been, from those memorable 1980’s to present day. Here is what Marc had to say:
HRH: Can “Rock ‘N’ Roll Handshake” be considered a brotherhood song amongst the members of Krokus?
Marc: Of course it can! The lyrics are all about us. Or, the lyrics can be used for any situation where there is brotherhood. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Handshake” is breaking the fight with an old song and it symbolizes our reunion. We had done a three minute medley from our “Metal Rendezvous” album, it was on Swiss television for a show called “Biggest Swiss Hits”. This performance of this three minute medley had the studio become a ballroom of mayhem! At the end, we all slapped each other on the backs and gave each other “Rock ‘N’ Roll handshakes”! It was definitely burying the hatchet.
HRH: The power ballad in Heavy Music is either a smash or trash, there’s no in between. What is the secret formula for Krokus always landing a smash power ballad like “Ride Into The Sun”?
Marc: You have to be careful not to sound too mushy or sweet, with your emotions as a singer you have to be careful. There is a fine balance to keep emotions and let people hear the blues in the ballad. With “Ride Into The Sun” there is more of a self portrait in there with God and humankind, it’s more philosophical. Due to the tempo of this song, there is more space for emotions. Aggression always has to be done in a more powerful and gigantic way within a song. As with “Ride Into The Sun”, in the studio we do comparison testing of a song, to see if we all agree, our saying is “the zeppelin is leaving the ground”!
HRH: All eleven songs on “Hoodoo” are prime cuts and vintage Krokus. How many other songs are there that could have made it on “Hoodoo”?
Marc: Two or more at least could have made it on “Hoodoo”, you always have to be ready and have that extra bullet in your belt. Music and song writing was better in the ’60’s, ’70’s and ’80’s. As time went by, there seemed to be less and less great songs out there. It’s always better to have more great songs because you never know who is going to come knocking at the door for another. Chris Von Rohr (bass & backing vocals), produced this album. Fernando (Fernando Von Arb/lead guitarist & backing vocals) and I entrusted him to produce “Hoodoo”. The whole album has a big and warm sound and feel to it. Traditional and classical amps were used to capture the right sound, Fender and Les Paul. “Hoodoo” was done on analog, 32 tracks. Dennis Ward, our engineer, worked this new album like easy meat with Pro Tools. With Chris’s guidance and Dennis’s engineering, a lot was done in one afternoon’s work.
HRH: Can America expect a Krokus tour in 2010?
Marc: The important question for us is, can supply meet demand? Honestly, it takes a lot of time and money to fly over to America. This time around, we are building our tour in Europe for the first time and we’ll take it from there. There was the time years ago, where we started our tour in America. If we can sell a lot of albums in America and the demand is there for us, then that would be great. We can never forget how good the U.S.A. has been to Krokus, American fans made Krokus in the ’80’s.
HRH: “Too Hot” is an all-out, pump-you-up and psyche-you-out, Hard Rockin’ song. Who or what was the inspiration for this unreal cool song?
Marc: Actually, this is the only song that I composed alone at home with my guitar. I had two sets of lyrics and two sets of ideas that I took to the band. Chris and Fernando got involved with the music, while Mark (Mark Kohler/rhythm guitarist) worked on the title and chorus. “Too Hot” took on a totally different shape at the end. We kept the chorus and the main skeleton of the lyrics throughout though. Fernando and Chris caught onto this song right away. “Too Hot” will be our second music video! It’s a trashy video, if you like. A gorilla/student video team made it for us, it was a chance of a lifetime for them to get their career off the ground. The video was shot at a big bike festival in Alsfeld, Germany. There was ten different takes on this video, it was amazing. It was a good time hanging out with biker fans. The “Too Hot” video has hot girls, hot bikes and hot Rock ‘N’ Roll!
HRH: Check out the “Too Hot” video below!
HRH: “Born To Be Wild” is yet another memorable and Hard Rockin’ cover song by Krokus. Would you and the band ever consider doing an all covers album?
Marc: I don’t think it’s the “in thing” to do in the industry. We do have a collection of cover songs though, that we play when there is time to kill. These songs were great to play in the very beginning of our reunion, they got our spirits high and helped us get that feel of each other again. We jammed to The Who, Free, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. These bands are all in common with us five band members and there are lot’s of songs from them we all love, it’s like, which one’s do we play actually? I need a lot of room to endow a song with my ideas while not destroying it either. I like to take a song a step further through energy and rearrangement. Some songs are almost too holy to cover, like a sacrilege to cover, “Stairway To Heaven” is a good example.
HRH: With the classic Krokus lineup reunited and your new album “Hoodoo” kicking the fans asses worldwide, after thirty years is this the best of times for Krokus?
Marc: Let’s say so far we want to keep it going! Since we released “Hoodoo” we have had gold and platinum selling success. In eight weeks since the European release we have had great concerts, with four sold out ice hockey stadiums. The Krokus reunion is like a team of music. This is the 1982 “One Vice At A Time” lineup doing it again and it’s not to be taken for granted. Were humbled. We are a really a Blues Rock Band and Krokus has been faithful to this all these years. Back in the 1980’s, the music was colorful, melodic and people were happy. Krokus was a part of that. The 1980’s was a magical time, Krokus shared the charts with Michael Jackson, with his “Thriller” album being #1 and that was amazing! Going through the whole musical scene back then, things were really happening and it was the zenith of our career. Looking back on the “Headhunter” album and touring with Def Leppard, filling out stadiums, it was the Old School days. The ’80’s was the land of freedom for Krokus in America!
Frontiers Records will release on August 27th 2010 in Europe and September 14th in the USA the new album from FIRST SIGNAL, a new exciting Melodic Rock studio project presenting the alliance between two well known faces in the scene: Canadian singer Harry Hess (ex Harem Scarem) and producer/bassist Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Khymera etc.).
The concept behind this recording is to bring back the classic Harem Scarem sound which after the band decision to split is very much missed by many fans. Records such as “Mood Swings” and “Weight of the World” are regarded as true masterpiece albums and they were the inspiration behind the First Signal songs which of course are also open to some new twists and interpretations.” The record is very reminiscent of the songs I grew up listening to and fit my vocal style”, says Harry “It definitely reminds me of the songs we were writing very early on in Harem Scarem. I haven’t been involved with anything even close to this style musically since Harem Scarem, so it was a lot of fun for me and if the fans really like it I’m sure there’ll be a future First Signal!”
Harem Scarem have displayed throughout their 12 official studio albums a vast array of styles, from AOR, to Arena Hard Rock and Power Pop in the “Rubber” years. Still the fans have always asked the band to go back to a guitar riffs oriented sound which melted the influences from the Melodic Metal of the 80’s with more contemporary sounds.
A great team of songwriters, including brothers Tom and James Martin (Khymera, Sunstorm, House of Lords), Erik Martensson (W.E.T., Eclipse), Ronny Milianowicz (Saint Deamon), Robert Sall (W.E.T., Work of Art) and Mark Baker (Signal, House of Lords) among others, had the task to recreate that magic sound, which is now back in all its glory thanks to a monster vocal performance from Harry and a crisp production and arrangement work from Dennis Ward.
Other musicians on the album include Chris Schmidt on drums, Michael Klein on guitars and Eric Ragno on keyboards and the necessary background vocals contribution from the other ex Harem Scarem member Darren Smith.
“First Signal” final tracklisting includes the following tracks: This City; When You Believe; Part of Me; Crazy; Goodbye To The Old Times; First Signal; Feels Like Love; Into the Night: When November Falls; Yesterday Rain; Naked Desire.
The songs “This City” and “Yesterday Rain” can exclusively be listened in full in streaming on the Frontiers Web radio from June 21st. Tune in at: www.frontiers.it/webradio
Harry Hess: lead and background vocals
Darren Smith: background vocals
Dennis Ward: bass, background vocals, guitars
Eric Ragno: keyboards
Michael Klein: guitars
Chris Schmidt : drums